In collaboration with the
International Astronomical Union

Thematic Studies

The International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is UNESCO’s advisory body for cultural properties. One of its main functions is to evaluate such properties when they are nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List. ICOMOS’ Thematic Studies aim to provide a context for its evaluations.

The ICOMOS–IAU Thematic Studies

Two Thematic Studies produced jointly by ICOMOS and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) present an overall vision on astronomical heritage, attempt to identify in broad terms what might constitute potential Outstanding Universal Value in relation to astronomy, and identify broad issues that could arise in the assessment of cultural properties relating to astronomy.

The first Thematic Study (“TS1”), published in 2010, was the first in any field of science heritage. Its 41 case studies range from early prehistory to modern observatories.

The second Thematic Study (“TS2”) was published in June 2017. This explores a number of more complex issues in greater detail, including the recognition and preservation of the value of dark skies at both cultural and natural sites and landscapes.

A third Thematic Study focusing on space heritage is planned in the future.